Lisa Schweitzer, nationally renowned scholar and advocate for social and environmental justice, presents the College of Architecture’s next Hyde lecture. Schweitzer, professor in the Department of Urban Planning and Spatial Analysis at the University of Southern California, will be presenting a lecture entitled “Death to Zoning, Long Live Zoning: Housing Justice for Whom?” at 4 p.m., Friday, April 5, in Richards Hall, room 15, UNL city campus.
For this lecture, Schweitzer explores the growing conflict of the Yes In My Back Yard (YIMBY) movement which in the US, advocates strongly for infill development to serve both sustainability and housing affordability. Their advocacy has been met with resistance from Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) homeowners and neighborhood groups, and much to their surprise, affordability and tenants’ rights advocacy groups. YIMBY advocates have thus argued for dismantling, or at least modifying the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and other development regulations, and for statewide mandated up zoning, bypassing local control entirely. Schweitzer’s discussion examines the battle over what justice means in this debate, using two case studies from south Los Angeles. One case concerns communities in West Adams and Crenshaw communities confronting petroleum refineries and new fracking proposals. Fracking companies, in particular, have been pretty successful in altering and exempting themselves from local control, and they serve as an interesting counterpoint to YIMBY advocacy. The second case examines Measure S, a citywide initiative crafted to force Los Angeles to update its general plans and, some argue, shut down new infill housing developments. This analysis employs document analysis, social media analysis, observation, interviews and archival research. The result from this work helps create a theory for land use governance and justice that acknowledges both the necessity for inclusion and for local control.
As a professor with the University of Southern California, Schweitzer specializes in urban studies, and, in particular, social justice, environment and transport. She has over 30 publications on these topics in peer-reviewed publications. She also maintains a blog about ethical urbanism at www.lisaschweitzer.com.
The College’s Hyde Lecture Series is a long-standing, endowed, public program. Each year the college hosts compelling speakers in the fields of architecture, interior design, landscape architecture and planning that enrich the ongoing dialog around agendas which are paramount to the design disciplines and College of Architecture graduates.